Tips for celebrating Advent

| December 5, 2012 | 0 Comments


“The surest way for me to tap into the spirit of Advent is to give an anonymous gift to a neighbor in need. My mom began this tradition when I was young. She let me choose a classmate whose family was struggling to make ends meet and then one evening, after dark, we’d drive over, turn off the headlights and dash up to the front door to leave a gift. We gave a cute wooden Christmas tree one December, having heard they couldn’t afford a tree.

Last Advent I dropped off a gift basket for a nearby ­family with a handicapped son. I’ve never met them but having driven by many times, I’ve come to admire them: assisting their boy in and out of vehicles, displaying a cross on their front door. Praying for them as I arranged the basket and tied a bow made it more meaningful.

Advent is a time for delighting in mystery, for making our way in the dark and for lighter footsteps. This simple ritual helps me do that.”

— Christina Capecchi
Author of “Twentysomething” column


“Each night of Advent, my family gathers together before bedtime and lights the candles of our Advent wreath and turns off all other lights. We sit in quiet for several minutes as we listen to an Advent song called “Night of Silence.” At the end of the song we place a new figure on our Advent Calendar. Sometimes we offer prayers or blessings at the end of the song.  Having a time of quiet together each night has helped us to create a little space of peace that Advent offers in waiting for Christ to come.”

— Deacon Mickey Friesen
Director of the Center for Misson of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

“Re-read the Infancy Narratives as they are presented in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  The Infancy Narratives of Mat­thew and Luke do more than just provide biographical details

Father Barron

concerning the Christ child’s birth — they encapsulate his unique identity and mission and foreshadow how the world will be forever changed by the action of the one, true God, who in Jesus Christ, accepts a real human nature, with all its implications, permits himself to be born into this world and lives real, human life.  This glorious impossibility that God makes possible called the Incarnation is present in the life of the Church in myriad ways and through a careful consideration of Christ’s birth we can better appreciate and prepare ourselves for Christ as he makes himself known in his Church.”

— Father Robert Barron
Founder of global ministry Word on Fire


“God chose to come into the world as an innocent, helpless, thoroughly dependent child. In that act, God surrendered to the ultimate collaboration with humanity. As we approach Advent, the theme of my prayer and reflection has been this question: When was the last time you really placed your trust in God? It would seem to me that all of us have at least one situation in our lives at the moment that needs to be surrendered to God, one situation where we are being invited to place our trust in God.”

— Matthew Kelly
Founder the Dynamic Catholic Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio

“As Catholics, we recognize the need for spiritual preparation during this season of Advent as we anticipate the joy of celebrating Christ’s coming at Christmas, and yet this is often the busiest time of the year for families. To ‘reclaim’ Advent in your home, simply aim to spend a few quiet moments in


prayer each day around your Advent wreath, enjoying the day’s Scriptures, praying a decade of the rosary or the St. Andrew Novena together, or remembering the intentions of your loved ones. Also, remember that the ‘right time’ for prayer may vary with your family’s unique rhythm — consider morning prayer, or even ‘carpool prayer’ on the way to school or work if traditional evening prayer doesn’t work in your home.

Finally, look for opportunities to support those in need this Christmas through your own parish or great organizations like Catholic Relief Services. When we share our blessings with those in need, we bless our own families as well.”

— Lisa Hendey
Author, blogger and founder of


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Category: Advent